April 10th, 2010-what a great day to become an ultra runner! I had the privilege of running with some of the best people I have ever met. The weather was great, the trails were perfect, and the race thoroughly threw me a beating...I never realized my legs could hurt that bad! I have never had that much pleasure causing myself that much pain.
I began the race full of energy and enthusiasm. Chatting with people, taking it slow, walking the many hills. After 7 miles or so I decided to pick it up a little, and it wasn't long before I was running by myself for a long time. I guess many people were. It was quite spread out with the 60 something people involved. The aid stations were spaced pretty evenly, withthere being an unmanned station followed by a manned one. Jill and Connie Egnarski were crewing for Todd and I, and that was awesome! It was sure nice to havesomeone helping to have water bottles filled and ready to go and offering words of encouragement!
At about 1.5 miles before the halfway point, I saw the leader come flying by, and then three more, and then lo and behold, the familiar face of Todd Egnarski barreling down a hill and in pursuit! "Looking good! Let’s get it done!" And he was gone. Not too much longer and I saw Jeff Mallach, who was also running strong. As for myself, I felt great up to then and for a while afterwards... After mile 24 I was really dragging, and my legs were really cramping up bad. At this point one tends to think about their future as far as races go, and I'm pretty sure I was asking myself how does one do this for 50 miles? Or 100 miles? Talk about some serious newfound respect! Wow.
About this time Angela and Paul came running up, and asked how I was doing and I truthfully told them I was 'hurting'. That’s when Paul dropped it on me," Yep, that's when you just got to push through it, and keep on going. Got to get it done. It comes and goes..." and off they went. And after them I followed. And I tell ya, that’s about exactly what I needed to hear at that time. Because I found that as I ran (or painfully trotted rather) the cramps would disperse, and yes return, but then disperse again. Either way, I was moving FORWARD and that was a good thing!
I followed them until up to about 2.5 miles from the finish, then the cramps slowed me down again and I had to drop back a bit. I remember thinking about the last long run I did, and how my legs gave out at 18 miles...I laughed silently to myself, for that was quite a ways back there now!
The hill at the finish seemed enormous, with the people on top like little ants! I slowly made the march up the hill, with everyone yelling at me to run it- however I was just trying to not convulse into one big cramp and fall down and end up doing the 'crappie flop' all the way down the hill only to end up having to try it again.
The sense of accomplishment is still with me today, and I am so thankful to have such a great group to run with and to talk me into doing such crazy events. I have never felt so alive. I later learned of Todd flying up the hill so fast the race director told him he should go down and do it again because he made it look too easy...also Deb ran the last 30 feet of it or so as well, clawing the air with one hand in true savage-like fashion...
Todd took 4th place, 2nd masters. The rest of us LPTRs there had a great time and a good race. I couldn't have asked for a better first time ultra...or better company to run it with. There was much laughter and stories floating through the air at the Chippewa 50k, and now I understand why.
Beat Matt Long and get a shirt?!?!
Marcel, Jeff, Deb, Todd and Angela!